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Senate participates in MiND workshop, provides update on UHS self-scheduling

On Wednesday afternoon, the Notre Dame student senate convened in the Montgomery Auditorium of LaFortune Student Center to observe presentations on the Health Department Expo and the MiND workshop, as well as share announcements over upcoming topics. 

Because senators were allowed to wear costumes, the meeting began with various senators sharing their Halloween costumes. Afterward, student body vice president Sofie Stitt began a roll call followed by a unanimous approval of minutes by the senators. 

Sophomore Sisy Chen, director of Health and Wellness, delivered a presentation on updates regarding her department’s progress on certain initiatives, including a high turnout event during midterms week. She highlighted a service project at the Basilica with the director of faith Ben Nash in honor of National Suicide Prevention.

She proceeded to speak about upcoming initiatives, including one with Campus Dining to set aside tables at North and South Dining Halls for students who attend the dining hall alone to sit with each other.

“We’re setting aside tables for people if they’re going to the dining hall solo, or they don’t have friends that can have lunch with them that day, they can proxy down at the designated table and get to know someone,” Chen said. 

Additionally, in late February, the dining halls will bring high-nutrient fruits, such as frozen fruits, avocado and other options. Finally, she spoke on the Code Red Initiative, intending to bring menstrual products to busy restrooms. 

Paige Jackson, assistant director of the Multicultural Students Programs and Services (MSPS), presented the MiND Workshop to the senate. Jackson discussed Critical Race Theory and microaggressions and how to respond to them.

“Critical Race Theory suggests the gains of marginalized groups are only achievable within the overarching systems of structural racism,” she said.

Evidence of her claims included institutions such as prisons that perpetuate racism.

“Our races are social constructs that we have developed on our own,” she said. 

Afterward, she moved toward the four types of microaggressions: the assumptions of criminality, exoticization, assumptions of intellectual inferiority and pathologizing cultural values. This, she said, is the consequence of racial battle fatigue.

To rid oneself of racial battle fatigue, she said, one must follow “R.A.V.E.N:” Redirecting the conversation or interaction, Asking probing questions, Value clarification, Emphasizing your own thoughts and offering concrete Next steps. 

She ended her presentation by praising Notre Dame’s inclusiveness.

“We’re very proud,” she said. “We have our spirit of inclusion statement. We have our mission statement. We have Jesus right there on God Quad. We have our pillars. We are very grounded within CSC (Center for Social Concerns).”

McGlinn Hall senator Lauren Taylor discussed updates on SS223-10, a resolution to add self-scheduling appointments to University Health Services (UHS) instead of by phone call. She spoke with Dr. Ed Junkins, director of UHS, who was impressed by the resolution. Taylor said UHS is hiring more individuals to answer phone calls. In addition, many have reservations that students will self-schedule an appointment and not attend. 

“They think that making someone go through the hassle of calling and waiting and all of that will make them more inclined to go,” Taylor said. 

Taylor suggested that the only way to know if their hypothesis is correct would be to test it out.

“We both agreed that kind of the only way to get over that is to test it out. We can do research, but it’s only so convincing as to what actually happens,” Taylor said.

Contact Sam Godinez at sgodinez@nd.edu

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Senate passes resolutions calling for UHS self-scheduling, subsidies for RecSports passes

The Notre Dame student senate passed resolutions Wednesday aimed at making recreational passes more affordable and improving the accessibility of University Health Services (UHS).

In the past year, RecSports announced they were switching from a pay-per-class system to a pass system for group recreational and fitness classes. Now students can pay $95 for a year-long pass, $60 for a semester pass or $35 for a half semester pass. 

Sophomore senator Derick Williams from Keough Hall introduced resolution SS2223-09, which seeks to fix financial issues caused by the switch to a pass system. Williams brought up concerns that the pass system is too expensive and prevents students from enjoying recreational opportunities. 

In the resolution, Williams calls for the Office of Student Enrichment (OSE) to coordinate a plan with RecSports to subsidize passes or provide financial assistance for students with demonstrated financial aid. Williams said he hopes the subsidies will come in the form of free or reduced price passes for those with demonstrated need seeking a pass. 

Williams also expressed concern that the cost of the recreational passes was having a particularly negative effect on those struggling with their mental health.

“Recreational and fitness classes can serve as a useful tool for students to relax and reflect as a therapy and treatment method for mental health concerns,” Williams said.

In the second part of his resolution, Williams called on the McDonald Center for Student Well-Being and the University Counseling Center to work with RecSports to “identify ways in which a RecSports pass can serve as a further resource for sustaining mental well-being.” The resolution passed unanimously.

The senate then passed resolution SS2223-10 which calls on UHS to implement an online self-scheduling system. The resolution was introduced by McGlinn Hall senator Lauren Taylor.

Currently, appointments can only be made by calling UHS. Taylor and resolution co-authors Sisy Chen, the director of health and wellbeing, and Hunter Brooke, the Carroll Hall senator, argued that this system discourages students from seeking medical attention. 

“UHS offers many vital resources to support a healthy campus community, but the only way for students to schedule an appointment at the UHS currently is via phone call — a process which troubles students with significant hold times, inefficiency and inconvenience, and frequently requires students to leave a message and await a return call,” Taylor said.

The authors argued that the method of scheduling over the phone is outdated, claiming that other similar universities have self-scheduling systems in place.

With the resolution in place, UHS will work with the senate to look into developing an online self-scheduling system.

Also announced at the meeting was an initiative to ensure that menstrual products are available in the unisex bathrooms in men’s dorms. 

Next Tuesday from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m., the senate will host a new program called Student Policy Collaboration in the Hesburgh library. Students will be able to come and voice their concerns and give ideas to senators.

Contact Liam Kelly at lkelly8@nd.edu